In response to the continued violence against minority populations in Iraq, the U.S. military announced Friday that it is conducting air strikes on strategic targets being used by the terrorist group known as Islamic State – otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL.
Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed the raid after ISIS weaponry was launched on Kurds in an area also occupied by U.S. forces.
US military aircraft conduct strike on ISIL artillery. Artillery was used against Kurdish forces defending Erbil, near US personnel.
— Rear Adm. John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 8, 2014
The development marks the first U.S. military involvement in the country since Barack Obama declared the Iraq war complete about three years ago.
Obama hinted at the possibility of such a mission earlier this week, acknowledging Thursday that those surrounded by ISIS militants would receive supplies necessary for their survival in a future air mission.
“Today I authorized two operations in Iraq,” Obama said, “targeted air strikes to protect our American personnel and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.”
At that time, however, White House officials claimed the air strikes were not imminent and would only be take place “if we see action anywhere in Iraq that threatens our personnel and facilities.”
The Pentagon spokesman confirmed Thursday that, contrary to some reports, no strikes had yet taken place.
Press reports that US has conducted airstrikes in Iraq completely false. No such action taken.
— Rear Adm. John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 7, 2014
According to Friday’s report, however, two fighter jets left the U.S. and dropped bombs on a site containing ISIS artillery in Erbil. Kirby cited Obama’s earlier remarks as a defense for the mission.
“As the president made clear, the United States military will continue to take direct action against ISIL when they threaten our personnel and facilities,” he explained.
Photo Credit: Airman Magazine (Flickr)